Arkansas PBS > Engage > Pressroom > West Poinsett Memorial Library Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive collects more than 250 items

West Poinsett Memorial Library Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive collects more than 250 items

Posted 19 Feb 2015

The West Poinsett Memorial Library of Weiner, in partnership with the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) and Arkansas State Library, collected more than 250 sweaters and clothing items for local schools' coat closets and Weiner Outreach as part of the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive. The drive was held in November, and sweaters were distributed to those in need during December and January.

'We have been overwhelmed by the neighborly spirit and generosity of the Weiner community members who participated in this project,' AETN Executive Director Allen Weatherly said. 'The people of Weiner have certainly paid PBS icon Fred Rogers a fitting tribute by demonstrating the wonderful, timeless values ‘Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' exemplified.

'Perhaps most importantly, these donors' kindness and caring response will help more than 250 of our friends and neighbors stay warm.'

The statewide Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive collected a total of more than 2,700 sweaters. Libraries participating in the statewide sweater drive included: Bainum Library and Learning Center (Glenwood), Cabot Public Library, Carlisle Public Library, Charleston Public Library, Cross County Public Library (Wynne), Delight Branch Library, De Witt Public Library, Dumas Public Library, Earle Public Library, Elkins Public Library, Green Forest Public Library, Madison County Public Library (Huntsville), Sevier County Public Library (De Queen), Van Buren Public Library and West Poinsett Memorial Library (Weiner).

Community members donated new or gently worn sweaters at participating libraries, the Arkansas State Library headquarters in Little Rock and AETN headquarters in Conway. Sweaters collected in this drive were distributed by various local charities and the Arkansas Salvation Army.

The West Poinsett Memorial Library Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive, managed by librarian Valerie Riley, featured a variety of programs. A highlight of the drive was a competition between local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts troops. Each troop was challenged to raise 48 sweaters; together, they exceeded their goals and collected a total of 140 sweaters for the drive.

To help set the tone for a 'comfortable' visit with his young viewers, Rogers put on a sweater and changed into sneakers as a way to help children settle in for 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.' All of Rogers' original sweaters were knitted by his mother, Nancy McFeely Rogers. Each year, she knitted a dozen sweaters and gave them to family and close friends at Christmas. Over the course of more than 40 years, 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood,' PBS' longest-running children's series, earned four Daytime Emmys. As a testament to his legacy, Rogers received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997 and was recognized in 2002 with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, for his contributions to children's development and education using broadcast television.

The Fred Rogers Company was founded by Rogers in 1971 as the non-profit producer of 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' for PBS. In the years that followed, it not only created hundreds of episodes, but it also extended Rogers' values and approach to other efforts in promoting children's social, emotional and behavioral health and supporting parents, caregivers, teachers and other professionals in their work with children. The Fred Rogers Company continues to build on his legacy through a wide variety of media and by engaging new generations of children and families with his timeless wisdom. Additional information is available at

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. Additional information is available at

The Arkansas State Library provides the resources, services, and leadership necessary to meet the educational, informational and cultural needs of the citizens of Arkansas and provides guidance and support for the development of local public libraries and library services. For more information on the library's services, visit

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansas's statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit, or follow the AETN blog at AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).